After being linked with Jacob Butterfield for around four months now it seems that Newcastle have moved a step closer to securing the signing of the young English midfielder from Barnsley.
Barnsley’s manager Keith Hill has spoken of interest from us earlier on this year, and told us we had to move quick for the out of contract midfielder if we wanted to make him a Newcastle player.
Sky Sports claimed that we were closing in on the signing of the England under 21 international and despite Keith Hill being desperate to keep Butterfield he is aware he’ll get other offers and probably move on, which he’s disappointed about as he sees Butterfield as “the best young midfielder in the Championship”
Despite being out of contract in the summer, because Butterfield is under the age of 23 Newcastle will be required to pay compensation to Barnsley for the 21 year old English midfielder, which is rumoured to be around the 2 million pound mark.
Jacob made his debut for Barnsley coming on as a substitute in a Carling Cup tie against Newcastle at St James Park, where we won 2-0. Since then Butterfield has made 89 league appearances scoring 8 goals in the process and contributing a number of assists too, he likes a long range strike which is something I’m sure the fans at St James Park will enjoy.
Even though Butterfield is only 21 he is the captain of his Barnsley side and has been since the beginning of the season, which is impressive for someone his age. Butterfield really started to show his progression this season scoring five goals and providing seven assists in 25 games, before his injury.
That’s something which I think we’re weary of, Jacob suffered torn anterior cruciate ligaments on New Years Eve which scuppered a potential deal to Newcastle in January. We’ve been stung in the past when we signed Dan Gosling with a similar injury and he hasn’t fulfilled his potential at the club and could possibly be shown the door this summer.
Also, Sylvain Marveaux was signed after a long term injury and hasn’t featured much this season due to another injury, which is why I think we’re still mulling over a deal for the talented Butterfield.
Jacob Butterfield may be the replacement for Danny Guthrie who seems to be on his way this summer after failing to agree a new contract. It’s disappointing to see Danny virtually out the door, but I wish him good luck, he’s a great midfielder who just unluckily finds himself behind the outstanding Cheik Tiote and Yohan Cabaye.
There’s also reported interest from both Reading and Aston Villa, I’m not being cocky when I say this, but if we want Jacob Butterfield, we’ll get Jacob Butterfield as we’re a much more attractive proposition than either of those clubs.
Seen as I have only seen Jacob play a couple of times I thought it’d be better to get the views of a Barnsley fan who could give us an insight into Jacob and his career so far. I spoke to Phil on Twitter and he kindly wrote a brilliant piece for me summing up Butterfield’s time at Barnsley.
Jacob Butterfield was finally given his first consistent run in the Barnsley FC first team at the beginning of the 2011-12 season. Many fans (including myself) had been frustrated to not see Butterfield start more games during the 2010-11 season, but the ultra-cautious Mark Robins instead opted for two defensive midfield players who had 0% creativity between them.
Opinions about Butterfield were divided amongst the fans at this time with some taking to Robins view that Butterfield needed to work harder on the defensive side of his game before being involved, and was more useful as an impact sub. Whilst Jacob was clearly making a great impact when coming on as a sub for Barnsley, his quality, technical ability and creativity demanded that he be given more of a chance. Fortunately, with the arrival of new manager Keith Hill in the summer of 2011, Butterfield was about to be given his chance.
Butterfield is truly ‘two footed’. His goals this season from distance with both his left and right feet have clearly demonstrated this. He takes corners with either foot and boasted that he scored penalties with both feet when training with the England U21s earlier this season “just to show-off”. Jacob’s touch, passing ability, shooting, dribbling and vision have never been in question, however this year I feel that he has added great strength on the ball and vastly improved stamina and therefore work-rate. In my mind Butterfield is a central midfield player, having said that, he has arguably been at his most affective for Barnsley when playing in the ‘number 10 role’ this season, floating around behind a striker ‘making things happen’.
If it hadn’t been for a cynical challenge by Leeds United midfielder Michael Brown (anyone surprised?) at the turn of the year, Butterfield would have left Barnsley now with the club receiving a sizeable fee. He was also included in the initial list for the GB Olympic team. Jacob isn’t blessed with lightening pace like many top-flight players these days, but I think his quick feet on the ball and footballing brain will more than make up for that.
I sincerely hope that he signs for NUFC. I would love to see him given a chance to play alongside players of real quality rather than in a team who are struggling week-in week-out to match the Premiership giants. From what I have heard about Jacob he will be convinced that he can be a star at NUFC and can play regularly in the top-flight. He appears to have the confidence that top players need – jealous types will say he has a big ego, however to be the best you have to think that you are the best. I’ve not seen many players during the past 30 years of watching Barnsley with the natural ability that Jacob Butterfield has. The last in a Barnsley shirt was probably ex-Middlesbrough player – Craig Hignett, who I’m sure you were fond of….
All the best to Jacob Butterfield and Newcastle next season
I’d like to thank Phil as he kindly volunteered his time to write a brilliant overview of Jacob Butterfield. You can follow Phil on Twitter here @PhilMCTyke and thank him yourselves.